A far cry from the traditional necessity it once represented, wedding cakes have become an adventure in flavour and an expression of originality. René Hart speaks to Ganga Keshav, the owner of The Cake Alchemist about the art of creating a cake that’s unique and truly meaningful to each wedding couple, and where to find inspiration you never thought possible.
Image Credit: STUDIOMAX
There are many aspects that can inspire the theme of a wedding cake; some brides will bring the lace from their gown to a baker to create a very elegant and extravagant cake, while some couples may fall in love with a countryside scene and will want their cake adorned with colourful blooms.
Whether your wedding style is modern, traditional, feminine or streamlined, your wedding cake sets the tone and adds the finishing touch to your nuptials. It’s also an opportunity to showcase a confectionary delight that guests will admire and appreciate. After all, the cutting of the cake is one of the final formalities and the last thing on the menu, so guests are sure to remember it.
The Cake Alchemist specialises in creating magnificent, truly bespoke cakes that become the centrepiece of weddings, using only the finest, locally sourced ingredients. “Our cakes are handmade with no artificial flavours, preservatives or cake mixes,” says Keshav. “We source delicious ingredients from farmers’ markets and local businesses. Melbourne is blessed with abundant local and regional produce, so we make the most of it!”
A commitment to exceptional flavour ensures the designs look and taste spectacular. “Melbourne is one of the best places in the world for foodies and art lovers,” says Keshav. “There’s an amazing range of cuisines and a real sense of adventure. I wanted to explore this in the cake world, which is why I decided to step in and see what flavour adventures I could take people on.”
The extensive flavour options are ever-evolving based on client preferences, from classic favourites to more exotic infusions. “We can turn any flavour into a delicious cake! We love to work with customers who want to go above and beyond with flavour to create something truly unique and personal,” says Keshav.
Keshav understands the pressures of trying to come up with ideas and finding new inspiration. It can be a struggle, especially when you want to stand out from the crowd and create something totally unique and personal. “Your cake is more than just a menu item or a box to tick,” she says. “It’s a symbol of your special day together. It’s not just
about looks, either. The flavour has to be just right, too!”
Peering Into The Process
Keshav offers a truly bespoke service far exceeding what is traditionally expected of a cake designer. “Cakes are part of all types of celebrations, but they should be anything but generic,” says Keshav. “We provide cake consultations for every customer to understand exactly what they are looking for, how the cake fits into their celebration, and what it symbolises to them and their loved ones. We cater for gluten-free, vegan and organic too; no one should miss out on cake!”
Keshav finds inspiration in everything from nature and fashion to interior design, which allows her to create show-stopping cakes that are the perfect interpretation of the wedding theme. “Understanding what the event means for [the couple], their favourite colours, flavours, desserts and fruits, and what they want to convey, is important,” she says. “I make a list, and then design a way to combine all the things the couple loves into their cake.”
If you’re looking for inspiration that stands apart from the plethora of cakes swarming your Pinterest feed, a good place to start would be to explore what’s trending. “The prominent trends I’ve seen recently are at opposite ends of the spectrum!” says Keshav. “Rustic, semi-naked cakes with decadent drip detail and flowers, versus very traditional white-on-white wedding cakes with details like ruffles, lace and sugar flowers. Many couples look for ways to combine the two – they want something traditional, but with a modern twist. Metallic and marbled tiers are very popular too. Brush-stroke and painted cakes is a trend I am looking forward to. They’re truly elegant in white, but give a fabulous finish if done in colour.”
Let Nature Nurture
With greenery, blooms and plenty of other natural produce to choose from, nature-inspired wedding cakes are the countryside confections of choice that have guests scrambling to score a slice. In lieu of traditional tiers and classic fondant, brides are opting for subtly stylish wedding cakes with an earthier aesthetic.
“Nature is the best template there is, so that’s a constant source of inspiration,” says Keshav. “Botanical cakes are scheduled to be the next big thing, in line with the natural, rustic trends but with a cool, modern touch. Coloured succulents and green foliage take a rustic cake to the next level.”
Feast On Fashion
Fashion is a powerful force. It defines generations and bends cultural barriers, and it can even inspire culinary creations. We’ve seen how fashion can inspire table centrepieces, dinnerware, interior décor and, of course, colour palettes. “I like to look at what others are doing [in the] interior design, fashion, architecture, and machine design [industries],” says Keshav. “There’s art in everything if you look closely enough.”
Basing your wedding cake and colour palette on your favourite piece of clothing and different types of textures assures an incredible outcome. Think stripes, pretty pleats, romantic ruffles, beautiful beading, shiny sequins, fine fringes – the list goes on. You can even turn to interior design and architecture for inspiration, using marble, metal, ombré or geometric shapes. “Seasonal colours and fabric textures like chiffon, silk or linen can add unique elements used as bows and borders,” says Keshav. “Interior design is great for bringing disparate styles together; it’s a great place to start if the bride and groom want different things!”
When it comes to finding inspiration for your wedding cake, take some time to think about how you can create a concept that describes your relationship with the one you’re about to marry, and how that concept reflects what makes you unique. “I love cakes with a sense of romance,” says Keshav. “Yes, I’m one of those eternal romantics who think that every element of a wedding should have meaning for the couple!”
“Cakes are much more than just a dessert at a function; they are a symbol of the couple, and a depiction of their love and life together,” says Keshav. So let your wedding cake be the token of your personality and the highlight of your wedding day, and look to inspiration you never thought possible.